Gene Vander Hoek

Captain Gene Vander Hoek received his big break when his family moved to Kona, Hawaii, in 1969. By age 17 he caught his first marlin and has since amassed 32 IGFA World Records as captain, mate, or angler. An early pioneer in billfish conservation, Vander Hoek tagged and released the second marlin he ever caught. His creative efforts to compensate crew who previously relied on selling billfish for income helped lead the tag-and-release industry standard that is practiced along the Kona coast today. A mentor in his community, Gene is the only captain to ever land four Pacific blue marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds. In addition to these impressive accomplishments, he is widely known for inventing the first plunger lure for marlin trolling in 1978.